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Use This Filing to Trade Like Jeff Berkowitz

This column was originally published on RealMoney on March 1 at 3:20 p.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for readers.

I like learning from the stock picks and styles of others. I spent five years studying every aspect of Warren Buffett's approach, and the result was my second book, Trade Like Warren Buffett . I looked at every stage of his career from the 1950s on (hedge fund days, early Berkshire, later Berkshire, his personal portfolio, etc.), and had conclusions very different from the usual value-based books about him. I hope the process made me a better investor, and time will tell.

Along these lines, I like looking at the 13F-HR. These are filings from institutions/funds with greater than $100 million in stock holdings, which are required by the SEC every quarter.

I plan to pick an investor once every so often and do an article based on his 13F-HR filings to get a sense of their approach and a look at their picks.

The first of these efforts will be on J.L. Berkowitz & Co., which filed its latest 13F-HR on Jan. 18. You can read the exploits of the young Jeff Berkowitz in Jim Cramer's Confessions of a Street Addict . If you read only one chapter in the book, read Jim's description of his experiences in September 1998. If you read two chapters, then also read his description of his first week in the hedge fund business. (Jim's hedge fund, Cramer Berkowitz, evolved into Berkowitz & Co.)

I'm not going to go over all the positions (there are more than 100 of them), and I'm going to focus on his largest tech positions, although he has a fair number of positions that are in more industrial areas. On the whole, it seems Berkowitz & Co. goes for tech stocks with the following characteristics.

Great balance sheets: These companies tend to have lots of cash and no debt and decent price over cash multiples when compared with the market in general. For instance, McAfee (MFE), the security-software company, has a $3.2 billion market cap and $1.26 billion in cash with no debt. There's software company Stellent (STEL), with a $318 million market cap and almost $60 million in net cash.
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